Speaker Anita Among denies claims of suffocating debates on coffee report
Speaker Anita Among has denied claims that Parliament is trying to suffocate a debate on the report on the controversial coffee agreement signed between Ministry of Finance and Uganda Vinci Coffee Company (UVCC).
The Speaker called for calm, saying Parliament will debate the report by the Trade Committee, but failed to attach timelines on when the debate will take place.
The Speaker made the remarks in her communication during the plenary sitting where she decried the numerous sentiments within the public, with questions swirling why Parliament has been playing cat and mouse games on the coffee report.
Among went ahead, telling lawmakers that when they are in Parliament, they legislate for the people, assuring them that although she has heard a lot of sentiments from MPs about the coffee report, the report will be presented to Parliament.
“Nobody should imagine that we are suffocating the report, we are here for the people outside, we are representatives of so many people, so when you start with those sentiments, it isn’t very good for you. Because when you start accusing the presiding officer, then you are accusing yourselves,” she said
As if to further provoke her wrath, some MPs accused Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija for making disrespectful remarks at Parliament while discussing the coffee report, a provocation that played out well with Speaker continuing in her rants
“Anything that is in the House, don’t go outside and start talking about what is in the House. And don’t start demonizing parliament, and when you start saying parliament has no powers to do anything, this House can make any decisions good or bad.” she added
Kira Municipality’s Ibrahim Ssemujju asked the Speaker to forgive MPs who have failed at their duties to educate Ugandans, saying that when they get hold of information that the report is ready, they think it is going to be discussed immediately.
Ssemujju praised Among for giving motherly advice to Ministers involved in the coffee deal to seek forgiveness, saying he wouldn’t want Minister Kasaija to end up in Luzira Maximum Prison like former Vice President, Gilbert Bukenya and Security Minister Jim Muhwezi just because of a coffee agreement.
In the leaked report by Parliament’s Trade Committee that scrutunised the coffee deal, the Committee made a number of recommendations pointing out that in light of the violations of the various laws, the Agreement executed between Government of Uganda and Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited is unconstitutional, illegal, void, ab initio and unenforceable at law.